Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Usability and Accessibility in Consumer Health Informatics: Current Trends and Future Challenges



Larry Goldberg, Bettijoyce B. Lide, Svetlana Z. Lowry, Holly Massett, Whitney Quesenbery, Ben Schneiderman


People arrive at health applications with expectations from the rest of their lives and those expectations are rapidly rising. Beyond basic access to their own health records and to their healthcare providers, consumers expect their health information to be available anywhere, anytime, and in a form that is easy to comprehend and act upon. To better understand consumer needs, we will explore two case studies, one involving the development of detailed ‘patient personas' to guide the design of a National Cancer Institute consumer-facing website, and another involving the use of telehealth to deliver oncology services to patients living in rural Montana. Innovative Visualizations and Assistive Technologies Next, we will review the innovative ways that personal health information is currently being provided to consumers. Pioneering systems such as Google Health, Microsoft Health Vault, and PatientsLikeMe have encouraged many people to keep better track of their medical history, learn more about their chronic conditions, and take greater responsibility for their wellness and healthcare. Progress could be accelerated by improved user interfaces, more effective search capabilities, and innovative social networking strategies. As an example, we will discuss the Lifelines and Lifelines2 systems developed at the University of Maryland, which are electronic health record systems using novel visualizations of patient histories as well as advanced searching and filtering capabilities. We will also discuss how to make rich, interactive, dynamic, web-based media accessible to people with disabilities. We will provide examples from public and private web sites that demonstrate online captioning and description, and discuss the accessibility standards and processes in place that make fully inclusive eHealth information possible today.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine


usability, accessibility, health informatics


Goldberg, L. , Lide, B. , Lowry, S. , Massett, H. , Quesenbery, W. and Schneiderman, B. (2011), Usability and Accessibility in Consumer Health Informatics: Current Trends and Future Challenges, American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created May 15, 2011, Updated October 12, 2021